Just Your Average Summer Night’s Supper on the Farm

Not every dish I make has a cute story or a long, convoluted explanation or especially intensive preparations. 

Fairy Tale Eggplant hang in clusters

 

Sometimes they’re just ideas that spring to mind when I’m picking or washing the veggies, or sorting the cooler (BIG refrigerator – like, we drive a forklift in there big) all by my lonesome.  I get a lot of thinking done in my 38-degree solitude!

Sometimes I just have to get dinner on the table and this hungry farmer needs some good home cookin’!  Plus Dad will stop by most nights for at least a taste of all the goodies I’m whipping up with the veggies he tends to so skillfully. 


[ He just left… after finishing the last of the roasted cherry tomatoes with garlic; no polenta.   He HATES polenta.  Pablum he remembers with fondness… cornmeal mush not so much.]

I’m constantly on the lookout for great stuff at the markets.  Last week was a ball of smoked mozzarella from another vendor.  I love the stuff and can think of a million and one things to do with it.  Back (seems like ages ago!) when I worked at the Bull’s Head Inn in Campbell Hall, NY, we smoked our own sliced  mozzarella.  It was there that I fell in love with the intense smokiness and creamy texture.

 

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Smoked Mozzarella over Soft Polenta

In fact, I roasted the tomatoes in the toaster oven – so not too much extra heat in my already-steamy kitchen.  Slathered in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper and sliced garlic, they cooked for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  The red and yellow orbs practically melted and their sugars caramelized and intensified, making them a perfect foil for the unassuming creamy yellow polenta.

 
Last week I was in the mood for Thai.  I have a few Thai restaurants that I enjoy, and having not been to either in a while, I needed (yes, NEEDED) red curry with coconut milk.  Since I’ve been touting our new teeny tiny “Fairy Tale” eggplant lately, I figured why not use that as the main ingredient? 

Eggplant and Tofu Red Coconut Curry

Sliced shallots, minced garlic, 2-inch pieces of eggplant and green beans were all sauteed in olive oil.  I grated in a bit of fresh (frozen for longer storage) ginger once the veggies were tender, then added about half of a block of extra firm tofu, cubed.  I stirred in a can of coconut milk, a generous teaspoon Thai red curry paste, the juice of half of a lime, a teaspoon or so of brown sugar and some salt and pepper. 

Basic Blue Tofu with Sauteed Green Beans

Once the sauce had thickened, and after several tastes, I stirred in a small handful of fresh basil leaves.  I served this, lovingly and beautifully to myself, over a bed of jasmine rice.  This is the kind of stuff my 6-year-old won’t eat (because of the spiciness), but he loves tofu – and his request was blue tofu.  Fine by me!

 
The dish I made was inspired by this blog entry at  Figs with Bri, although mine was much less ‘composed’ and arranged.

And if THAT doesn’t float your boat, how about some simple grilled eggplant?  Again with the Fairy Tale!  

Slice them in half lengthwise, then marinate in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, minced rosemary and garlic, salt and pepper.  Instead of mincing garlic with my knife, I oftentimes use a microplane grater.  I also use it for ginger.  The microplane makes very fine bits of garlic which give off a ton of flavor without the intense bite and occasionally offensive mouth-feel of chopped. 

Grilled Fairy Tale Eggplant marinated in Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon and Olive Oil

After marinating for at least 30 minutes, grill the eggplant until they are tender and they have beautiful grill marks on both sides. I had so much leftover that I used it in a tortellini pasta salad the next day – tossed with balsamic vinaigrette and some tomatoes, grilled zucchini and spicy pickled peppers from another neighbor at the market.

A customer I spoke with a few weeks ago said she was doing exactly as I did, but was going to put them onto grilled bread that had been smeared with soft goat cheese and roasted garlic.   Yes.  I went out that night and bought goat cheese.

Moral of the story: If I happen to help you at a market and ask you “what are you doing with all those beets”, please tell me – you never know if it’ll show up here someday soon!

Tortellini Salad with Grilled Summer Veggies

 

 

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About Kasha @ The FarmGirl Cooks

Food, Photos and Stories, Fresh from the Farm!
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5 Responses to Just Your Average Summer Night’s Supper on the Farm

  1. Yvonne says:

    Yumm! Lookin’ good!

    Blue tofu??! I’ve never seen that! Of course, I’ve not been looking for it…. 🙂

  2. kasha2010 says:

    The Boy loves it! LOL

    If you’ve used tofu before, you know you have to store it in water. Once I cut it into cubes (or even in the block), I put a few drops of food coloring in the water. Within a few hours it’s whatever color suits a child’s fancy.

  3. Arlene says:

    Okay Kasha that’s it! I’m coming over to eat at your table! I am so hungry now after reading about and viewing the pictures of those yummy dishes! =D

  4. Carolyn says:

    On Friday, September 27th, I purchased a Buttercup Squash and would like to have some receipts of just what can be done with it.

    Waiting for your response.

    Thank you.

    • kasha2010 says:

      Hi Carolyn! Buttercup Squash is an excellent squash for roasting. The skin doesn’t peel off easily, like a beige Butternut, so it’s best to bake it with the skin on (or steam if you prefer), then remove flesh and proceed with your dish. Simply (or not so simply if you don’t have a heavy chef’s knife) cut the squash into wedges and lay them, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Oil them a bit so they don’t stick, or use foil to cover the pan. Roast at 400-degrees for about 30-40 minutes and test with a fork for doneness. The squash will be very soft.

      I find both Buttercup and Ambercup to be perfect for baking. Since it is a dry squash, adding this puree to any baked good will not affect the consistency. I mash up the baked/roasted squash and freeze it in (measured) bags full, then I can thaw and drain and use in my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. It’s also fabulous in soups (Red Coconut Curry with fresh basil and chopped peanuts) and risottos (buttercup and sage drizzled with brown butter).

      Thanks for asking, and please see me at the market if you have any more questions!

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